Elias Steven Malcolm ~ An Erma Rogers Head Start Center Success Story
Elias Steven Malcolm was born on February 22, 2014 at 29 weeks, being three months premature. Despite his sudden & unexpected entry into this world, he came in strong. Extremely premature, but already weighing three pounds and measuring sixteen inches long, shocking all the doctors.
Elias spent the first six months of his life in the NICU. He developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating disease that affects mostly the intestines of premature infants. He had the first of several operations at only two weeks old. But with lots of prayer, he healed, gained weight and overcame this.
During his recovery in the NICU, it was found that his heart was having trouble properly pumping blood throughout his body. Once again, his small, fragile body would undergo surgery. We continued to pray, as always, and Elias eventually healed, gained weight and overcame this obstacle. Over the course of his healing, there were too many pokes and prods to his little body to count.
He remained on the ventilator, had many blood transfusions, and had IV’s anywhere and everywhere. But, by the grace of God, when Elias was discharged from the NICU, he left there without being dependent on oxygen, a trach, or any other medical device. God gave us the strength to love him through it all, because prayer helped us to overcome.
We were blessed with the opportunity for Elias to attend the Erma Rogers Early Head Start Center in Byhalia at the age of two years old. Words cannot describe how much this has immensely helped Elias. Being an only child and not being around other children regularly, kept Elias complacent. He was not performing developmentally or physically at the appropriate age level.
Upon entering the Early Head Start classroom, Elias began to grow and develop. He now strives to mimic and perform the actions that he sees his peers doing. Once he transitioned to one of the regular Head Start classrooms at Erma Rogers, he began to attempt his first steps. Oh, it was such an exciting sight to see. He now walks without the use of any assistive devices and can cruise the hallways just like his friends. No longer does he need to drink out of a bottle, because he noticed that his classmates and himself are far too advanced for that. Through those small changes, his confidence has soared and his speech has improved.
Now, at almost five years old, Elias has not only met, but has exceeded some of the goals set forth by doctors and therapists. He continues to strengthen and learn through therapy services. His attending Head Start is the beginning of his educational journey and he would not be the same happy child that he is now without this wonderful program. Nor would he be the success story without the attention, teaching and personal dedication of his extended family at the Erma Rogers Head Start Center. We love them all and cannot thank them enough. We want to send a very special thanks to center Director, Ms. Lizzie Joyce Blackmond, EHS Teacher Asanta Brown, and Special Needs Assistant Rosalyn Albright, you are the best. Prayerfully, Elias will continue to excel in learning and push past all obstacles.
Bernikki & Steve Malcolm